Featured Researcher at the Faculty of Education - Dr. Ursula Kelly

Dr. Ursula Kelly

In December 2018 Dr. Ursula Kelly was honoured with the title University Research Professor, a designation above the rank of professor. It is the most prestigious award the University gives for research and goes to faculty members who demonstrate a consistently high level of scholarship and whose research is of a truly international stature.

"It is out of intellectual engagements through teaching and learning that my research questions emerge and their consideration is always a way to understand better what it means to teach so as to connect through and for learning."

Dr. Ursula Kelly's career contributions have focussed on an interdisciplinary  reconceptualization of education informed by the interrelated areas of cultural and psychoanalytic studies, new literacy studies, and critical education. She has published seven books and numerous journal articles and book chapters and has maintained a sustained record of public engagement activities.

Dr. Kelly’s research has contributed to debates within education, cultural politics, and social justice through studies that engage a range of critical methods from socio-cultural and psychoanalytic textual analyses to forms of ethnography.

Research highlights include published studies in the following areas:

1. Critical Literacies - Cultural Politics, Representation, and Place. Dr. Kelly’s published work in this area includes Marketing Place: Cultural Politics, Regionalism and Reading (Fernwood), one of the first studies of reading practices in Canada to use cultural studies and post-critical frameworks. More recently, she completed a study in rural literacies, using the award-winning Government of Newfoundland and Labrador tourism advertisement campaign, Find Yourself Here.

2. Psychoanalytic Studies - Education, Loss, and Place. This work focuses on the affective domain of identity and its implications for education. It includes a range of studies in language, literacy and education, including analyses of Anne Kaplan’s memoir, French Lessons, Virginia Woolf’s Three Guineas, and Kevin Major’s Ann and Seamus. Her book, Migration and Education in a Multicultural World (Palgrave Macmillan), also features a discussion of cultural melancholy and loss in the context of post-cod moratorium Newfoundland and Labrador.

3. Historic LiteraciesExpressive Culture, Representation, and Remembrance. This research began as an investigation into the representational practices of historic occupational and largely rural-based communities and is a collaboration with Dr. Meghan Forsyth of the School of Music. It resulted in the first comprehensive study of the locally composed songs, poems, and stories of the woods workers of Newfoundland and Labrador that was published as The Music of Our Burnished Axes (ISER Books). Related publications include a CD and booklet set entitled Mentioned in Song, and a multimedia travelling exhibit that focuses on wartime foresters, entitled “The Songs and Stories of the Forgotten Service.”

A central focus of Dr. Kelly's career is a sustained commitment to excellence in teaching.  In 2006, she was the winner of the President’s Award for Distinguished Teaching.


Faculty of Education

230 Elizabeth Ave, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1B 3X9

Postal Address: P.O. Box 4200, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1C 5S7

Tel: (709) 864-8000